Parshat Bamidbar: The power of forgiveness

Summer Friedman
Summer Friedman (Liz Minkin-Friedman)

By Summer Friedman

This week’s haftarah comes from the Book of Hosea, and it focuses on the importance of forgiveness.

The haftarah talks about how the Israelites were praying to idols and disobeying God’s laws. But God, through Hosea, promises to forgive them. My favorite part is where the Jewish people are called the Children-of-the-Living-God. These words stand out to me because they remind me of how we are made in God’s image, and we are responsible to be our best selves while learning from God, who is seen as our role model in forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the most important mitzvot because it is the glue that holds relationships together.

Throughout Jewish history, forgiveness has shown its worth and significance. One important example is Joseph and his brothers. After all Joseph was put through by his brothers, including being thrown into a pit, sold as a slave to Egypt and being falsely accused and sent to jail, his brothers come to him and request food. Joseph forgives them and provides food, even after all the pain they caused him. As Joseph moves on from his pain, he shows great strength in trusting that his brothers have changed. For Joseph’s trust and forgiveness, he was rewarded by reuniting and saving the Jewish people, who would have starved in Canaan. I believe that strength is what forgiveness is all about, to be able to move past what the other person has done and reestablish your love for them.

Living as part of the community, I’ve had to offer forgiveness and ask for forgiveness many times. There are so many little times when we forget to be kind and end up hurting the other person’s feelings. When these things happen, I try to go to the person and apologize because it hurts me so much to watch them in pain. But after I apologize and the other person offers forgiveness, the bad feelings fade away and feelings of hope follow.

As we reach the holiday of Shavuot, we end the counting of the Omer, each day reminding ourselves to reflect and to strive to become a better, more forgiving version of ourselves.

Summer Friedman is a sixth grader at Krieger Schechter Day School.

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